2012 BMW X3: Best Six-Cylinder in the Class
December 06, 2012
Earlier this week, I spent some time in an entry-luxury car that costs almost as much our long-term 2012 BMW X3 ($53,845). Coincidently, it also had a 300-hp six-cylinder engine, though admittedly, those are pretty common right now. But geez, nothing in this price range really compares to this N55 engine.*
This turbocharged inline six-cylinder makes any vehicle feel special. As you've read, it's potent from a low rpm and it revs so incredibly smoothly and sounds great. Even in the 4,200-pound X3, the acceleration is just breathtaking. Of course, I'd rather have this six in the lighter 3 Series or X1, which are just ridiculous when you floor the throttle in traffic.
Not surprisingly, exactly none of us have been able to stay out of the power, so our X3 is averaging just over 20 mpg against an EPA-combined rating of 21. Not horrible, but hardly stellar. However, some things in life are just worth paying for no matter what, and this BMW inline-6 is one of them. If you're going to buy a six-cylinder anything, skip all the mediocre V6s in this price bracket and get one of these.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 20,462 miles
much less except the overachieving twin-turbo N54 that came before it